Newsbite #8: Newsround!

26 January 2019

Interview

We have been informed that the DfE are significantly behind in their interview shortlisting due to the high number of applicants.

We have therefore still not heard if we will be invited for interview yet, but hope that by the next Newsbite we will have news.

Despite the disappointing delay we have been very active whilst we wait.

Community Cohesion

“Patience is not simply the ability to wait, it’s how we behave whilst we’re waiting”
– Joyce Meyer

A number of supporters have contacted us to discuss issues with the local secondary schools, including press reports, social media disclosures and of course the latest published results for each school. As a committee, we are extremely passionate that every child is entitled to an exceptional education, and throughout our application process we have been clear that we don’t just want this for our own school, but for every school in the locality.

This venture has always been about more than just a school – it is about a community, and developing responsible, compassionate, enterprising individuals who will make a positive difference. We will therefore continue to work pro-actively with local schools to collaborate and co-operate  to share best practice. We have been meeting with and extending the hand of friendship to other local secondary schools to ensure that rather than polarise, our schools builds bridges and leads our future students by example. The only battle between any local schools should be on the sports field – and end there with a hand shake!

Additionally, in the last fortnight we have held meetings with members of the Faculty of Education at Cambridge University, an ex-St Ives Mayor, a project management company who have experience in delivering new schools alongside the DfE, and also met with key stakeholders who may help us secure a site for our school.

We are also talking to local businesses to design the very best curriculum we can, pertinent to the needs of local pupils. We now have a business networking ambassador who will be exploring  links between Cornerstone Free School and the business world – fundamental to the delivery of our “Enterprise” curriculum. Hopefully in the next few weeks you will see a change to our website with more information on our business networking and how you could get involved. Please get in touch if you are a local business and want to get involved, or have contacts who would like to meet us!

We also have two supporters working hard to unite all the local faith groups to support our bid, as we truly believe our school, though Christian in ethos, should be open to and equally accessible for children of all faiths, and none. Please therefore get in touch if you are a member of a local faith group and would like to hear more about how you can support our proposal.

Funding

“If you think Education is expensive, wait until you see how much ignorance costs.”
– Barak Obama

We have spent over £800 so far in promoting Cornerstone Free School – mostly through:

  • printing costs for 10,000 flyers
  • large roadside banners
  • hosting for our website and our mailchimp facility
  • “freebies” that were purchased to hand out at Christmas markets
  • venue hire for meetings.

Without yet having been approved by the DfE, we have had to fund this ourselves, and have therefore relied on some very generous donations from some of our supporters. We want to thank those who have made this possible. To continue our promotional work, we would appreciate more donations from those of our supporters who feel able to give. Please click here to make a PayPal donation now.

It is really key to a successful interview to be able to report that the numbers of supporters have increased significantly enough to be sure our school will be full when it opens. We would therefore like to be able to run large half or full page advertisements for a period of time in the Hunts Post, as well as in local village magazines, alongside articles – which come at a cost. Any donations to help us generate more publicity would be very gratefully received through the donate button. We need to target raising another £300 as a priority. 

Signups

“Tell me and I forget.  Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”
– Benjamin Franklin

We have reached 550 supporters! Only a couple of weeks before Christmas we were asking for your help in reaching our target of 400! We are now of the belief that we can reach 600 before our interview. Special thanks to the community of St Ives who were so wholly welcoming and enthusiastic about our proposal when approached by members of our team in market square in December!

Also thanks to those who have enthusiastically emailed us to volunteer themselves as Cornerstone Ambassadors in their local primary schools. This is not as scary as it sounds, and just involves spreading the news about our proposal as far and wide as possible to all primary school parents! Word of mouth is by far the most effective advertising tool and we are sure there are many more people out there who would like to know about our proposal and have the opportunity to support it!

Inspire

“I will never accept that the brightest minds, sharpest intellects, greatest leaders, statesmen, orators and captains of industry in this country just happen to all be from the upper classes
– Alun Ebenezer

The quote above is taken from Alun’s article, featured in the Times Educational Supplement.  Don’t we want a school locally that produces exceptional, talented citizens, who have had the very best education any school could offer, but at no cost, and therefore accessible by the very poorest in society as well as the most affluent?

Here is an inspiring reminder of what we hope to achieve in our locality: 

Are you motivated to support and help us make Cornerstone Free School a reality? Please get in touch!